Making the decision to get married is one of the most important decisions we make in life. It is one that requires a sound spiritual life. One approaching this decision should consult with their elders first, especially their parents. Not just for approval, but with questions about what is essential for a successful marriage and what is necessary to create a good family. God gave us the means for physical attraction and all the pleasures of physical sexual relationships. These can be overpowering and lead one to making poor choices if one is not careful and prudent. Often one is attracted sexually prematurely and these passions can be overpowering. There may be studies that need to be completed. Or one may not yet be mature enough to create a new family. Most parents know these things.
Advice form Elder Paisios:
I always emphasize that young people should try to live as spiritually as they can before marriage, since preserving chastity secures their physical and spiritual health. The spiritual life is a basic perquisite to whatever life one chooses. The world has become like a wheat field that is ready for harvest, but swine enter and trample it. So now everything is in disarray – weeds, mud, wheat stalks, but here and there on some edge, there is an occasional wheat stalk standing on upright... The more spiritual work one does during his youth the easier it will be for him in all things later in life... The better equipped and prepared one is before the battle, the better off they will be when bullets are flying and bombs are falling.When thinking of marriage think of the spiritual qualities of that person you are choosing to become a life-long partner. Be careful to determine if this is possibly a person who has gone spiritually astray. If one has a mature spiritual foundation have joy, but if they have gone astray and abandoned their spiritual roots, view them as a sister or brother feeling sorry for them and praying that they will find their way back to a sound spiritual life. Be careful.
Elder Paisios advises:
A young person ought to keep company with other spiritually mature young people in order to be helped and move within a spiritual atmosphere.If you find that person you know who is the one for you, test this with a pure and chaste life and you will with the help of God be blessed with a good life.
Reference: Elder Paisios of Mount Athos: Spiritual Counsels IV: Family Life, pp 33-35